Maple Leaf Motoring: Celadon creditors aren’t ‘screwing the Canadians,’ lawyer says

Maple Leaf Motoring is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of Canadian transportation. This week: Did Celadon behave badly in Canada?; Union continues refinery blockage arrests; and Iranian-Canadian trucker blocked from entering U.S.

Lawyers for Celadon Group and its former Canadian employees offered very different views on how the U.S. company handled the closure of Hyndman Transport and the aftermath during court proceedings in Toronto on Thursday. 

The basic question: Did Celadon behave badly in Canada by terminating nearly 400 employees without notice and waiting more than six weeks to bring its U.S. bankruptcy to a Canadian judge while taking steps to sell off its assets. 

“It’s an abuse of Canada,” Andrew Hatnay, a Toronto labor lawyer representing about 240 former Hyndman personnel, told Ontario Superior Court justice Justice Glenn Hainey.

Edmond Lamek, a Toronto corporate lawyer representing Celadon and Hyndman, offered a different take. 

“To say everyone is out to get Canadian employees, the facts just don’t bear it.,” Lamek said.

By the time of Thursday’s hearing, Celadon agreed to get Canadian recognition of its U.S. bankruptcy and have its Hyndman assets placed into a receivership. It ensures that former Hydnman employees can secure a portion of unpaid compensation from the asset sale proceeds and a federal program. 

While Lamek acknowledged the timing of the proceedings was triggered by pressure from Hatnay and the former employees, he said Celadon had no intention of skirting its legal obligations in Canada or diverting its assets from Hyndman employees.

Hatnay said Lamek was suggesting that “U.S. creditors are screwing the Canadians.”

“That’s not the case,” Lamek said.

Hainey, who presides over complex corporate litigation as part of the court’s Commercial List, was mum on Celadon’s actions in Canada. 

Hainey is deciding whether former Hyndman employees will have legal representation as a trustee liquidates Celadon’s Canadian assets: Hyndman’s headquarters and two terminals. 

Union blockade of Saskatchewan fuel refinery truck traffic continues after arrests

Members of the Unifor union are continuing to block fuel trucks going in and out of the Co-Op Refinery in Saskatchewan despite recent arrests.

Police arrested 14 members of Unifor outside the Regina facility on Jan. 20, including Unifor President Jerry Dias. 

Picketers have been delaying and blocking trucks hauling fuel to and from the refinery in Regina since December following a lockout over a contract dispute. 

Carriers and owner-operators are caught in the middle of the increasingly volatile dispute between Unifor members and the refinery.  

Unifor appears undeterred by the arrests, a fine and an. Union leaders are calling on the federal government to help end the dispute.

Canadian trucker with slain Iranian general’s last name denied entry into the U.S.

A Canadian truck driver was denied entry into the United States after he said border officers questioned him about the last name he shares with assassinated Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, the CBC reported.

Babak Soleimani, of Toronto, told the CBC that he was stopped at the Windsor-Detroit crossing on Jan. 10. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that Soleimani had been deemed inadmissible into the United States but provided no reasons, the CBC reported. 

The trucker has the same last name as Qasem Soleimani, the Revolutionary Guard general killed in a Jan. 3 U.S. drone strike. Babak Soleimani, who is originally from Iran, told the CBC he isn’t related to the dead general – and has no connections to him.